When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

It can be hard to distinguish among the men wearing grey suits and regulation haircuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But David Margolis always brought a splash of color.

It wasn't his lovably disheveled wardrobe, or his Elvis ring, but something else: the force of his flamboyant personality. Margolis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, didn't want to fit in with the crowd. He wanted to stand out.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

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'Rum Cliff' And Other Close Shaves In The Tax, Spending Deal

Jan 2, 2013
Originally published on January 2, 2013 3:12 pm

You might have thought the intense partisan negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff were all about who wins and who loses when it comes to taxes and government programs.

And that assessment would be essentially correct — but some of the winners might strike you as a bit odd.

Tucked away in the bill's obscure cul-de-sacs are a bevy of obscure tax and spending provisions. We picked five for your perusal. Here goes:

-- NASCAR: Section 312 of the bill extends a provision that places National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing tracks in the same category as amusement parks for tax purposes. That allows owners to depreciate the cost of a new track in just seven years instead of the more common 15- to 39-year time frame. To qualify, a track must be a permanent facility and host an inaugural race within three years of completion. Estimates are that the tax break is worth $70 million to Daytona Beach, Fla.-based NASCAR.

-- Asparagus growers: The measure includes a provision that extends "market loss assistance" for asparagus producers who are being hurt by low-cost asparagus coming in from South America. The subsidy amounts to $15 million a year — half going to fresh-market asparagus production and the other half to processed or frozen production.

-- Hollywood: Section 317 of the bill retroactively extends (for a total of two years) "special expensing rules" to certain film and television producers. The cost of the production can't exceed $15 million (or $20 million if the production is in a designated low-income area) as long as three-quarters of the production is done inside the United States. The rule allows production expenses to be deducted in the year they occur instead of depreciated over a period of years. The break is meant to encourage U.S.-based productions. It's expected to cost the government $266 million this year.

-- Rum tax: The bill extends by two years a $13.50 per proof-gallon tax on rum. The revenue from the tax goes into the coffers of the treasuries of the territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a 2010 report by the Congressional Research Service, Puerto Rico raked in $371 million from the tax in 2008, while the U.S. Virgin Islands received almost $100 million. The New York Times reported in 2010 that the origin of the tax dates back nearly a century:

"Because rum producers in the islands are exempt from federal excise taxes, the government imposed an "equalization tax" on Puerto Rican rum producers in 1917 and gave the money to the commonwealth. In 1954, the United States extended the arrangement to the Virgin Islands.

"For half a century, the program allowed the islands to replenish their depleted treasuries and pay for infrastructure, schools and social services. Puerto Rico used less than 10 percent of the $450 million it received last year to provide marketing support and production subsidies to rum companies, according to government officials, leaving the rest for the island."

-- Electric scooters: The bill extends a tax credit for qualified two- or three-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles, amounting to 10 percent of the cost of the vehicle up to $2,500. The vehicle must be "manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads, and highways," be capable of reaching 45 mph and be powered by a minimum 4 kilowatt-hour battery (up from 2.5 kilowatt-hours previously). The retroactive extension is good until Jan. 1, 2014.

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